to amuse us.
Such was the scenario a month or so ago, which began like this:
Hubster: “Guess what I’m going to bring home!”
Me: “Oh, a present?”
Hubster: “Yes! One of the teachers at school has been making her own laundry detergent. She told me that she has been doing it for four years now, and that it works better than anything she has ever bought at a store.”
Me: “Really? She’s going to give us some to try out? So, it’s all natural, and she’s giving some to us? Wow!”
Hubster: “Yes, she has some waiting just for me!”
I’m now a little embarrassed to tell you that yup, this girl clown was pretty darn excited about the detergent.
Once my better half brought this bounty home, I discovered that there was enough of the powdery mix for 10 loads. Oh, it also boasted tiny bits of lemon peel that made it smell good. And best of all, yes, this detergent worked better than any commercial product I’ve ever used. Not only that, the teacher included the ingredient list, which she had also distributed to her entire chemistry class.
Also, my husband make a point to assure me that this would be easy to make, since “her five-year-old does it all of
I’m happy to report this is true.
An added plus is that we were able to buy all of the needed concoctions at our local hardware store, although we
were briefly flummoxed by oxygen bleach (we discovered that it’s better known by its more popular commercial name,
I’d also never heard of Fels-Naptha, but my Ohio-born spouse knew all about it: a dull mustard colored rectangle that resembles a bar of soap, it’s billed as a laundry bar and stain remover, and for this mix, is grated. In the You Can Learn Something New Every Day Department, I also found out that Fels-Naptha has been around an awfully long time—it debuted in the mid-1890s and is an effective treatment for poison ivy as well.
So right now, there’s a plastic container full of homemade laundry soap on the shelf above my washing machine. It’s not only budget friendly, but easy to put together and perhaps most important, cleans our clothes (and sheets and blankets and socks), really, really well.
I guess that means that I’m now an official member of Do It Yourself—better known as DIY—club.
Defined in Wikipedia as the method of building, modifying, or repairing things without the direct aid of experts or professionals, there appear to be, literally, millions of DIY web sites. Besides the uber-popular Pinterest and Buzzfeed DIY, you can go to other virtual places for seemingly everything, including making children’s crafts projects; creating an entire wedding, or mixing up home remedies to cure whatever ails you. Not surprisingly, there’s even a TV network called, of course, the DIY Network.
But I’m also now realizing that I’ve been a DIYer for a whole lot of years and for a whole lot of things.
I routinely make my own baking powder and have also whirled together dishwasher detergent recipes using baking soda and salt. I’ve removed rust stains with lemon juice and salt, and last week, spent time getting rid of nasty mold in our shower with a spray bottle of undiluted white vinegar, hot water and towels (it didn’t work 100 percent, but the end result was still far better than store bought tile cleaners). I’ve also just remembered: when The Teenage Daughter was small, I made play dough (easy but easier to go to the 99 Cents Only store), and how about the dozens of book covers I created from brown paper bags? Does this count?
I’ve also been known to whip up a terrific batch of jam and always make applesauce from scratch. In fact, most of my DIY creations involve food. I don’t know if soup from scratch fits the DIY bill, since most of the ones I chop, boil and simmer come from cookbooks. But I’ve also blended my own mayonnaise and much more frequently, make deviled eggs, gravy and any number of salad dressings, often veering off the path of the original recipes.
I haven’t gone this far yet, but a good friend creates her own dog food from cooked rice, eggs, veggies, fruits and scraps of meat. She mixes the entire concoction together, then spoons it in into loaf pans and bakes it. Forty-five minutes later, she has about five pounds of canine yumminess, which she divides into plastic bags and freezes.
My next door neighbor goes to even more work when it comes to Tiki, her 26-year-old parrot. Every three months,
she boils up a batch of five-bean mix, frozen thawed vegetables and rice. It takes her an entire half day to cook this stuff and then put it all together, which includes storing the bird’s feast in small baggies for daily individual servings.
This seems like a ton of work to me, but she says that there’s nothing store bought that comes close to its taste
and nutritional value.
I’m not saying that everyone needs to find a DIY project. (Just thinking about this is exhausting.) But, there are enough terrific ideas out there to give at least one or two of them a whirl.
After all, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll not only save some dough, but might find an entirely new way of making the ordinary interesting, creative and maybe, just maybe, fun.
What DIY projects have you tried? I look forward to your comments and stories!
P.S. Here’s the laundry detergent recipe:
1 bar grated Fels-Naptha soap
3 cups Borax
2 cups washing soda
¾ cup baking soda
4 ½ cups oxygen bleach (Oxi-Clean)
Optional: about 1 heaping tablespoon of dried lemon peel
Gently mix all of the ingredients together, and store in a covered container. Use 1/3 cup for every full load of laundry, less for smaller loads.